United States Congressman Pat Ryan has strongly criticized Roger Goodell and the NFL just before the playoffs, specifically targeting the decision to exclusively air the highly-anticipated Dolphins vs. Chiefs game on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock.
In a statement issued on Friday, Representative Ryan expressed his dissatisfaction, labeling the decision as “absolutely ridiculous.” He highlighted the frustration of out-of-market fans who are required to pay for a streaming subscription to watch a playoff game.
Ryan questioned the league’s and NBC’s pursuit of additional profit at the expense of hardworking Americans, stating, “I’m demanding the NFL and NBC stop the BS and offer fans the service they already pay for, or we’re coming for your antitrust exemption.”
In a letter to the commissioner, Ryan accused Roger Goodell of attempting to manipulate fans by forcing them to choose between subscribing to a streaming service or missing a playoff game. He emphasized that fans don’t deserve to be further burdened by the actions of greedy corporations.
A spokesperson for the NFL responded to Ryan’s criticism, stating that the league’s media strategy aims to make games available in various ways to cater to fans’ preferences.
The mention of an “antitrust exemption” refers to a privilege granted when Congress passed the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961. This exemption allows the NFL to sell television rights through a monopoly pooling system and distribute profits among its teams. Although it has faced scrutiny in the past, the antitrust exemption remains in place.
The statement concludes by acknowledging that the NFL is a business entity capable of making business decisions that may not please everyone.